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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Routine Update

It's been a long time since I've posted anything, but "no news is good news," right?

I've been having A LOT of really good days! The Mirapex seems to have really kicked in! I have better balance, more energy and stamina, and a lot less stiffness and tremor. The one thing I do have to be careful of is not to overdo things. I'm seeing things that I've had to neglect for too long and thinking, "I could take care of that!" — thinking it about all of them at once!!! I've had some sore muscles to show for it. (But it's the good, "I've accomplished something," kind of sore.)

The other item "in the news" is that I'm in therapy for my shoulder. (Told you my warranty has expired!) It seems that a combination of heredity, repetitive motion, and possibly the Parkinson's has resulted in arthritis/weakened muscles. I go in and have hot and cold packs and do exercises with a therapist three times a week. It isn't bad. It's at the place where I used to work, so there are a lot of friendly faces to talk to.

Now for the really awful news.... I have to renew my driver's license!!! Once again, I face that dreaded moment in every woman's life—THE ID PHOTO! We have a good news/bad news scenario here. The good news: they've changed the state law so that I only have to face this moment every 6 years, instead of every four. The bad news: how ever this new picture turns out on my license, I have to live with it for 6 years, instead of just four. It sure would be nice if they offered re-takes, like when we had school pictures. Ah, well.... My son has developed the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mindset. When he had his license photo taken, he waited until the last second and deliberately made a goofy face! Now, whenever someone complains to him about their ID photo, he can always trump their picture with his! At least he's happy! If you want to ask about my new license, though, remember you do so at your own risk!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

There's something in the air....

They have apparently shifted their flight path. They've been flying over all day—seemingly buzzing the house. The only other time I've seen this many of them in one day was years ago when we lived in Marion. It's just as intriguing this time as it was then.

What made them choose today?

Why did they choose this path?

Are they all following the same flight path, or are there other groups taking other routes?

Where are they coming from—and going to?

I haven't seen anything about them in the news, so I have no answers for all my questions.

Private acrobatic cropduster planes?

Formations of military planes?

No...migrating Monarch butterflies, heading south for the winter! Very cool!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Vacation from Vacation

I'm home...I'm tired...I'm smiling!

My whole family got together this weekend to celebrate my parents 50th anniversary. All my "family of origin" (me, Mom, Dad, and sibs) and their "extensions" (spouses and kids), along with my extensions (husband, kids, kids-in-law, grandbaby-to-be) were there! Yaaay! Family photo time! There were 20 of us, so we took 81 shots, then "photoshopped" good expressions from one shot to another until we had one good family portrait.

In the afternoon, the extended family came for an informal reception. Aunts and uncles, cousins and their kids...they added another twenty-three, for a total of forty-three! Trying to have conversations with everyone was a new event I call "speed chatting".

We were the perfect illustration of a Yogi Berra quote, "It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much." ;)

An interesting sidenote — my brother-in-law entertained himself by doing the math and discovered that the married couples in my "family of origin" (Mom & Dad, sibs & me & our spouses, our married kids & their spouses) have all together accumulated 139 years of marriage! Wow!

Now all I need is a vacation to help me recover from my summer vacation! :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ch-Ch-Changes

Nine months ago, I started a blog post about change. Nine months! That's long enough to have a baby! Apparently, it's the gestation period of some blog postings, as well!

On Nov. 4, 2005, I started writing about my second-floor office and how many of the dozen trees on our property I could see from there.

"One tree is directly in front of me as I sit at my desk and look out the window. I don't think I've ever been this 'up close and personal' with a tree before in my life! I feel as if I should name it...."

I watched, intrigued, as the tree's leaves changed from completely green to completely yellow in a matter of days. I started to think about what I'd witnessed out my window...searching for its "parabolical" meaning. Then I got stuck.

Since that day nine months ago, I've experienced a lot of changes of my own — illness and new life, loss and gain. And as all these changes have spun around me, I've continued to watch my trees. I've seen them hit by storms that broke off branches. In one instance, the weather was so severe that it ripped away half the tree. I've noticed some of the trees suffering the effects of age and disease.

I've also witnessed positive changes in my trees. I've seen leaves change color, green to gold, seemingly overnight. I've watched leaf buds swell, and burst, and baby leaflets grow into full-size leaves. I noticed a hummingbird hovering among the high branches.

All of life includes changes—some positive, some negative. Some changes add to our blessings while others seem to rip beloved treasures from our hands. It seems as if everyone has something to say about change.

Changes - David Bowie

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you're gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I don't know about other people, but I need something stronger, more eternal than Bowie's words to turn to when I'm staring into the face of change. This old hymn has some real things to say about facing change.

Abide With Me - Words: Henry F. Lyte

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.


Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.


I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

All growth brings change. All change brings loss. All loss brings grief. — Author Unknown

"O Thou who changest not, abide with me."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"Reality"

Most days now are pretty good. The Mirapex and Co Q-10 seem to be working. My energy level and coordination are greatly improved. My tremors and muscle tension are much less bothersome. Most of the time, that’s enough. I can go on with life, enjoying my more "normal" self again.

There are occasional moments, though. Moments when I'm suddenly struck by the reality that this recovery is all fake. Any "repairs" I see are pharmaceutically induced and very temporary. They will only last as long as the medicine in my system. When the meds are gone, so are the improvements.

Then, there's the scariest thought that jumps out at me now and then. — Every day, a few more of the dopamine-producing cells in my brain are dying off. THAT thought takes my breath away and gives me a chilly split-second of panic every time. "Quick! Someone! Just find a way to stop the progress of the disease! I'm not even asking for a cure—just let me stay where I am!"

How many cells are already dead? Nobody knows—maybe 50-80%. How quickly are the remaining cells dying? Nobody knows that either. There is one detail, though, that seems to be pretty universally accepted. One day, there won't be enough brain cells to produce enough chemicals for the prescription to enhance. One day, this medicine won’t work for me any more. Then it will be time to try something else from the long list of available treatments.

But I do know one thing more. I can't just sit around and wait for my world to end. God has given me every day to enjoy and live to the fullest. My times are in His hands and He has a purpose for EVERYTHING I experience. I can trust Him with my whole life.

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me." —Psalm 57:1-2

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” —Ephesians 2:10

Sorry if this post sounds bleak — it isn’t really. I don't feel that way most of the time, but I’ve learned that these kinds of thoughts are easier to deal with and much less scary when they’re brought out into the light.

Thank you for your prayers and concern. Family and friends mean unbelievably more now than ever before.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Quote Sweet Home

Maybe it's just me, but I'm really intrigued by the way some people are able to "turn a phrase". I love the way a good quote—profound, humorous, or touching—can get me to look at an old truth in a new light. I mean, I loooooove quotes! I always have them in word processing files on my computer. I find them scribbled on my Bible flyleaf, scrawled on the back of church bulletins, and jotted on scraps of paper that nest in my office!

I wanted to give all my lovely, hardworking quotes a place of their own. A place of more prominence and honor. Someplace like...a blog of their very own ! So, for the past week and a half, my quotes have been moving, one-by-one, into the new home I've made for them—"he said....she said..."—my daily quote blog. We're issuing a special invitation today, but the link will always be there in the sidebar. Looking forward to seeing you there!

P.S. If you find a good quote that's looking for a home, feel free to drop it off in the Comments Section!